Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year's Gift!

It was the last race of 2007 for AD and I and it was a great suprise for me, 1st place in the resolution run! It took me all year to get a 1st place finish but at least I can say I had a win in '07. It's a great start to the new year and I know Amber and I are going to have a great 2008. We have a lot on the go in the new year, The Boston Marathon, Ironman Louisville, and of course the Ironman World Championships; Ironman Hawaii! Not to mention the greatest event of my life, our wedding on October 15th in Hawaii. I'm looking forward to the coming year and many, many more with the girl I've waited to spend my life with, I love you AD, happy new year.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Biking with "The Grip"

It's been a great weekend with Amber, yesterday we took a road trip to Banff to catch up with the trailtrash group and complete our first trail run of the year. Unfortunately, they took off a little early an we just missed them, we ended up doing our own run around the golf course for an hour (we both were not in the mood for a three hour trail run anyway). With the shorter run we were able to spend some time in the hot springs and have a nice lunch at Earls.

Today we were back in the pool in the morning and I felt pretty good. I spent some time warming up 2km, and only pushed another 1km, 3km in one hour and feeling good throughout. After a nap in the afternoon we were on the bike for 90mins and had the privilage of seeing Mark Allen (The Grip) win the 1991 Ironman in a classic battle with Greg Welch. AD received our joint Christmas gift yesterday, coverage of all the Ironman world championships from 1991 to 2006. It was great to see such a dominant athlete stamp his third win on a race that he respects so much. I'm looking forward to watching the rest of the DVD's to keep me motivated on the trainer and ready to qualify for the race myself.

Friday, December 28, 2007

First Deposit Made

If I have to start to pay for over indulgence this holiday season well today a big deposit was put in the bank. AD and I were on the bike for a tough two hour ride on the trainers. I was suffering after an hour and thank God Amber was there with me to keep me motivated and still pushing. It also helped that we were watching Lance and the rest of the major contenders in the 2003 tour suffer up the Pyrenees. The last half hour was a real struggle but I knew it was going to make me stronger and help prepare me for upcoming serious Ironman training.

Yesterday I felt fantastic in the pool as well, it's been a long time since my last swim (December 7th) but I still remember how to. I completed 3.5kms in 55 mins, great for me considering I usually do 3.0km in an hour, but felt great and didn't stop the entire time. Another deposit made.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Yes, it's time to pay for over-indulging

Well it's Christmas time and tis' the time to enjoy time with family and friends and celebrate the success AD and I have experienced this year. After four days of not doing much of anything both Amber and I were feeling fat and happy, well not happy about being fat, but happy to spend some time with her family. We arrived back in Calgary, 9hrs on the road and after unpacking wanted to get back to normal. Normal for us means jumping on the bike for an hour and pushing ourselves back into the "training zone." We watched Lance in the 2003 tour and my legs felt like I had not been on the bike for a year. I struggled during the first 30 minutes, breathing a lot heavier than I normally do and obviously my quads and gluts have not had the bike training they are used to. Give me a week and things will be back on track, just in time for the resolution run.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Another great Weekend of Racing and Training

Amber and I had another great weekend, competing in the fifth race of the Calgary Road Runners cross country series, finally receiving my Tour de France DVDs and spending 2 1/2 hours on the trainer watching them. The race went really well for me, I did my best to stay with the two leaders, Luke Way and Trev Williams for as long as I could but they ended up dropping me on the first major climb, damn! I paid for my early effort for the rest of the race, struggling to just keep running as the terrain was hilly for the next 6.5km. I managed to hold off a strong chaser for third, so far that's three thirds and a fourth, fairly consistent but we'll see how I complete the season over the next couple races.

Sunday AD wanted to do 2 1/2 hours on the trainer and I'm always up for a long ride but it was a real struggle. Fortunately we had footage of the 1989 tour, one of the greatest tours in history with Greg Lemond winning in the final time trial by 8 seconds and the race that first made me interested in the tour. We also watched the 2003 tour, Lance's 5th victory and another great race. The last 1/2 hour was really hard as we were both starting to bonk, but made it with nothing left.

Another hard 1hr ride tonight and it wrapped up a great three days of training. Just in time to rest for the holiday's.

Friday, December 14, 2007

One of the Events of a Lifetime!

Yesterday AD and I had the privilage of seeing Bon Jovi in concert. I've never been much of a fan but after seeing him perform last night, I am now! I've see a lot of bands before, but no one has pumped up the crowd going like Bon Jovi did last night. A lot of jumping, screaming, happy fans were in the saddledome and it was amazing. AD has some sore knees from banging against the restraining bar and my ears were ringing like they haven't in a long time, lots of fun!

We decided to take it easy on the training this week, a lot of christmas parties and we were both really tired. Tomorrow is the next race in the Calgary Roadrunners X-country series so we'll find out if the rest has help us or hurt us. This time of year it's nice to take a mental break and do some other things we really don't get a chance to when training becomes a priority.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Sunday Run With Friends

This morning was a great 90 minute run at Frank and Keri's place (friends of ours from trail running) it was an "athlete's Christmas party" with a sock exchange and a terrific breakfast. Nice to fit in a workout while connecting with friends. AD and I ran together the entire time and I think she was happy to run with me for once, I was happy too. Frank sounds like he is missing Ironman training, but is excited for his running events next year he's planning on doing an ultra-marathon and he and Keri will be joining us on the BC bike tour.

Yesterday was our usual trainer ride and we were both happy to keep it in zone 2 for the entire two hours. I was starting to feel really exhausted after 1hr 20mins but AD kept me going, thanks babe! We do make a great team.

The Saturday winter training environment...

Friday, December 7, 2007

Giving It All on the Bike!

Yesterday was a tough bike class at TCR, 10 one minute intervals at 110% threshold followed by a 4.5km TT and six one-legged intervals as a cool down. AD and I were still tired from a tough effort on the treadmill on Wednesday and our own tough bike training on Tuesday. I've gone to the well a few too many times this week and I paid for it during the attemped swim tonight. After 1500m I was done, the shortest swim work-out I think I've done in well over a year. Normally 2500m is my minimum but I just wasn't feeling it tonight. I'll rest up tonight and take it nice and easy on the trainer tomorrow, can't go a Saturday without some type of bike training!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Running to Stand Still

Yesterday AD and I decided to hit the gym after work, I've been working late every night and haven't felt much like training but sometimes I just need a swift kick from Amber to keep me motivated. Once I was in the gym I was ready to roll; I started by taking it easy on the treadmill 2% @ 8mph and gradually increased the incline by 2% every five minutes until I was doing 8% @ 8mph. At that time I was hurting and had to back off to 4%, but I was ready to gear up again during the 2nd half hour and hit 8% again.

Amber pushed herself too (I could tell by the strong running) it's probably not the best time of year to be doing intensity work, but damn we are going to be FAST for the early season races!

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Great result in the cold weather

Yesterday was the fourth race in the Calgary Road Runners x-country series and I had a great result, better than other races anyway. Officially I finished third but Luke Way was ghost running the race and finished just ahead of me, so fourth. 34:46 was my time but it was a relatively good run given the cold weather. The 9mm spikes really helped with the soft snow and poor footing. The terrain was difficult to run in, it was like running in sand half the race and by the second lap I was really starting to tire out. I held on to the place I was in, even though I could feel myself running slower and slower, by the end I was completely spent. At least I earned my soup at the end.

Plc Name Time Div Plc/Div
1 Trev WILLIAMS 33:56 M3039 1/11
2 Don KING 34:05 M3039 2/11
3 Darin HUNTER 34:46 M3039 3/11
4 Curtis SAMPSON 35:58 M3039 4/11
5 Adam SAVILLE 36:28 M1829 1/4
6 Bruce DALTON 36:39 M4049 1/17
7 Lindsay MCLAREN 38:06 F3039 1/8
8 Mark LEGGETTE 38:21 M4049 2/17
9 Laurence MARKS 38:23 M3039 5/11
10 Adam TEASDALE 38:40 M1829 2/4

Today we worked hard on the trainer for a couple hours while watching "Overcoming" the story of team CSC during the 2004 Tour de France. Very inspiring but even a Z2 effort can seem difficult the day after racing, great motivation though.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Easy day, finally

I know it seems like all my latest blog posts have been killer workouts but yesterday was an easy swim with AD. She was great to even get in the pool with me, given she didn't want to from the start. I managed to get in 2km, even though it was packed in the lane (damn sincro swimmers) I needed some recovery time before bike class tonight, apparently we're starting some TT work for the next few weeks.

We saw "The diary of Anne Frank" played out by some MRC students, it was really great and makes me appreciate the time and place we live in now. I have no reason to complain about anything in my life given what they went through in WWII. Imagine trying to live on rotten kale and potatoes for two years and never being able to go outside!

Monday, November 26, 2007

Long Runs are Not Supposed to Hurt like That!

Yesterday was a lot more painful than it was supposed to be. I started out okay, nice easy pace out towards Stanley Park and things felt pretty good. My legs were juiced from Saturday's ride and I knew it was going to be tough but the first half hour went quick. After reaching 4th street I started running into a really cold wind and the effort was extremely tough, I could tell that my speed dropped considerably but I was determined to get through it. This is where I started thinking about the run in an Ironman, your legs are tired, you're running into a tough wind, you're feeling depleted, and you just have to KEEP GOING! Don't stop, just think about completing the next five minutes and then the next, and so on...

I reached the top of the hill at River Park and my legs were completely solid, that climb is really steep and the lactic acid burn can really put a damper on your run. I kept shuffling and headed out towards South Glenmore park, one hour down, one more to go. I worked out the kinks in my legs and was going slower but feeling a little better. Once I reached the Rockyview hospital I felt low on calories so I downed a honey stick that AD bought at the farmer's market ages ago and immediately had a stomach ache. I kept running, drank some water and it went away after about 10 minutes. On the way back I hit the wall at 1hr 40 mins, 20 mins to go and I felt like I was in a daze, just trying to put one foot in front of the next, again I started thinking about the next five minutes but this time five minutes took forever! I had chaffing in between my legs, it was really cold out there, and I was starting to bonk, this run needs to end. I kept it up, struggling my way back home and feeling like I had just run a marathon. Another great day of training, is it November or June? Why am I running this hard now? Oh well, supposed to make you stronger, right.

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Preparing for "long-run Sunday"

AD and I are having a great weekend, not really training because it's necessary but because we're just trying to stay in shape. Although it's still a little tough to get going when you are really comfortable sitting on the couch and you know you have to get out there for a run that your legs will hate you for. I keep telling myself that it is part of Ironman training, to make your body do a workout even though you really don't feel like it. I know I'll feel better afterwards and I don't really have any time or distance expectations right now so it's nice to run just because I love it.

Friday we did our usual swim and after taking off a week and a half from being in the water, it was a little tough. I got through 3km though and felt a lot better that I was back swimming. Yesterday we rode the bike for 2hrs I was stronger than last week, but it was AD's turn to be tired. We're getting ready to do an hour and a half run this morning and that should wrap up a great weekend of not training, but keeping in shape. I wish all Ironman training was like this weekend, I might actually have time and energy outside of triathlon to have a life.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Bike Class

Well this week I was a little smarter and took a couple days off before bike class and it paid off. It was a tough class, completing some one-legged drills, a short 4.8 TT, and a 13km 5 hill tough effort for about 25 mins. I felt a lot better this week compared to last and I think taking Monday and Tuesday off had a lot to do with it. Amber and I felt a little guilty missing our regular Friday night swim but every once in a while you just need a "mental break" from the regular training routine.

We've been talking about getting in some cross-country skiing now that the snow has come. We're both hoping to become a lot better than last year, the one time we went out last year we felt like we were skiing backwards.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Mental Training Day

Today was a tough day to train, Amber and I were both really tired from this week's workouts and it took everything in each of us to get outside and do our usual long run on Sunday. It was extra motivation to know that Ironman Louisville was on TV today but unfortunately it wasn't being aired in Canada and the bar we went to didn't have it on satellite. We peeled ourselves off the couch around 11:30 and went to work.

The first 10 minutes were okay but when I hit the wind in North Glenmore park it was absolutely horrible! It took everything in me to not stop and turn back home. I knew that days like today are what you need to prepare yourself mentally for an Ironman. I was tired, cold, and barely moving, but I was moving and I needed to keep it up to get through today's training. After descending in the weaselhead area I felt a little better, I was at least out of the wind, but I could tell my body was really tired. I managed to do the reservoir loop in 1:13, not my best day but today was more mental than anything else. I haven't taken a day off since I got back from Toronto so I figure I'm due for one tomorrow, I've just been too excited to ride since I got my bike back.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Finally! I have my bike back!

Well it seems like I've been apart from my bike for a very long time. I really appreciate Clinton lending me his bike for the past six weeks, I don't think I could have gone that long without riding at all, but now its back and I feel fast again! I picked it up yesterday from Kham at Bow Cycle after delivering him the frame on Tuesday, he was really impressed with the new paint and new components. It seems like it's been a money pit recently but now it's all worth it.

I was so excited to try it out that I jumped on the trainer for an hour right after work. Amber came home to see me suffering on the new ride and she was very excited as well. I finally have the Griffen that I wanted when I bought it from JR three years ago, thanks JR, and no you can't have it back.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Riding in Lance's Last Tour

Sunday AD and I were feeling really lazy in the morning but the nice thing about living with another triathlete is that you can usually motivate one another even when you're not feeling 100%. I motivated her to get on the trainer Sunday morning after our hard race on Saturday and we did two hours of fairly hard effort while watching Lance's last Tour victory in 2005. Watching him, Ulrich, and Basso who always manage to drop everyone else motivates me to work harder, because you know that they were going through a lot more suffering than I could ever imagine.

Seeing the Tour in it's glory days almost makes me forget the tragic events of this year's Tour. I am very happy that Tour officials have taken a hard line against riders who are doping, but it really was sad to see so many elite athletes get kicked out this year. I remain hopeful that one day the sport will be completely clean and that every rider will be tested throughout the year, just like Lance was when he was riding. I laugh at people who say he used drugs when he won his Tours, he was the most tested athlete in the world, while he was riding and during the off season. He tells one story in his book, "Every Second Counts" about officials showing up at his door to do a random drug test when his wife started to go into labor. He was not allowed to take her to the hospital until he completed the test! My God! Give the guy a break, can't you test him after he takes his wife to the hospital?

Today my motivation was lacking, but AD wanted to get in the pool, which forced me to do so as well, thanks babe. I managed to get in 3k and although the pool was really busy, I kept my lane and got in a full hour. It's so nice to be back home!

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Great way to spend a Saturday!

Yesterday was the third race of the season in the Calgary Roadrunners x-country series, Edworthy park, and I was really looking forward to getting back into some hard training. After killing myself in bike class on thursday, doing a nice easy 3k swim on friday, I wanted to get in a hard running effort. Hard was an understatment of the effort I put in that day! The course starts out fairly easy with a little 1km flat section then there is a steep, twisting downhill section where one of my spikes caught a rock or a tree root and sent me tumbling. Ouch! Great start to the race, my hands were covered in mud and thorns and I had a couple scrapes on my right arm and leg. Oh well, time to get up and get back to the race.

I managed to not lose too much ground, only one guy passed me, and then I hit the big hill. After the first 150m my legs were burning and anyone who's ever run that hill knows that it seems like it's never going to end. I tried to keep driving up at a steady pace but there were times when it was faster to just walk with some long strides. At the top of the hill my legs felt like there was nothing left, but there was still one more lap. I negotiated the downhill the second time without any issues and by the time I hit the uphill the second time I had to walk a lot of the really steep sections. The final stretch back to the start/finish seems like it is going to take forever and it was like I was jogging slowly at that point. I finally saw the finish and I could hear someone coming up on me really quickly, knowing that there were still some really fast guys right behind me I gave it one last sprint for the line. I finished in 29:43 and 4th overall and in my age category. I was happy with my effort but I'm looking for some improvement over the winter as AD and I start back into some run focused training, preparing for the Boston marathon in April.

Amber had a great race as well, finishing 2rd in her very strong age group. She didn't feel up to the swim on friday but a good meal and night's rest and she was ready to race. The next race is Okotoks on December 1st, we missed that one last year so I want to give it another "lung busting" effort.

Friday, November 9, 2007

Payment for Living the Good Life

I arrived back from TO on Wednesday and it was so nice to see AD again and be back home. The facility in King City was beautiful but really isolating, I did whatever I could to keep on track but with catered meals every afternoon and night it's really hard to resist indulging. The plane ride was long and leaving the Kingbridge Centre was the first time I'd been outside in 8 days!

Yesterday in bike class I paid for the lack of training. We did some single leg drills followed up by a short 4.8km rolling course, then 8.5km with a graduating incline 1%- 6%, by the time I hit the 4% grade I was really suffering. I could feel myself getting really lightheaded near the end and my heart rate was consistently above 160 (really high for me). I was quite disappointed to only be pushing an average of 267 watts but I knew I gave it everything I had. AD really impressed me last night, you could tell she hasn't fallen off the wagon with training, she finished right after me only 2mins back and pushed another guy in the class to the point of cracking! She had passed him on the climb and the final section was a long straight away, he was catching up to her and she put the hammer down! Pushing right to her max she was not going to let him catch her and he let up in the final 150m with a cramp. Great job babe!

It feels good to be doing something other than treadmill running and tonight we are going to do our typical long-swim Friday night date. Saturday is the CRR Edworthy cross country so than will be another 8km suffer-fest, my body is going through a little bit of training shock right now, but I know it'll get better I just have to keep at it.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

Out of my Element

Life has been really tough here in "the compound" I've been just outside of King City, which is about 30 mins from Pearson airport in Toronto and it feels like the middle of no where. I've been learning a lot in regards to my new job and I'm really excited to get started, but the training is really dragging on (probably because I haven't been doing my usual- swim, bike, run with my girl as a "stress relief"). At this point I just want to get home and get back to life with AD, I really miss her.

This place is like a "white collar prison," there are four of us in the training program and none of us have left the compound in seven days! You are treated like a king here, catered breakfast, lunch, and dinner, hotel-like accommodations and snacks throughout the day, but there is nowhere to go! It's a nice facility (it used be a "fat camp") but not really appropriate for a triathlete, I ran all the trails the first day I was here in about 15 mins.

Only four more days here and I'll be back at home, back into my regular routine, I'm looking forward to it!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Weekend Tri

It was a great weekend, Amber and I finally had very few plans this past weekend so we took the opportunity to swim Friday (3.0km), bike Saturday (1hr 40mins) while watching IMC, and run a race on Sunday (12km). Tons of fun! The race on Sunday was a three person relay but AD and I decided that 4kms was really not even worth getting out of bed for and did all three laps solo. It was a tough course, but in comparison to other x-country races, it was pretty tame. I completed the 12km course in 40:04, almost under 40! Oh well, next time.

I've been concentrating on two exams on Monday and Tuesday for the "Portfolio Management Techniques" course so haven't kept up with the posts, sorry. The good news is they went well and that means I'll have the "Canadian Investment Manager" designation. A good one to have for my new job.

Good luck to Scott Curry and Kyle Marcotte in Florida November 3rd, AD and I will be cheering you on! We know you'll kick ass! You both kicked my ass in our last workout!

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Hunter Tries Hang'in with the Pros



Well today was a great day for training, and a great eye opener. I had the opportunity to ride with two professional triathletes, Scott Curry and Kyle Marcotte, and they put me in a world of hurt!!! I had always considered myself somewhat of a good cyclist but after riding with these guys for the morning, my God! I am not even in the same stratosphere as Scott and Kyle. It was a real dream to ride with guys of this caliber and I was definitely giving it everything I had to try to keep up.

I had about 1/2 hour before I met them to warm-up and I thought I'd be fresh and ready to go. I met them at the corner of 101 street and lower springbank rd. which is about 12km from home and I left myself enough time to fool with the seat on Clinton's bike as I've been suffering from a weird knee problem, most likely from using a borrowed bike. After fixing the seat and feeling well warmed-up Scott and Kyle came down 101 street right on time. We started out down lower springbank and I immediately knew I was in a world of trouble; they were talking easily between each other and I was drafting, struggling to keep pace. I didn't want to slow these guys down but I knew that I couldn't keep going for 100km at a 160 heart rate, but that didn't mean I wasn't going to try. I hung on as long as I could and I could feel the lactic acid burn in my legs and my mouth was hanging open gasping for air. I did okay until we hit the hills, at that point I knew they were going to drop me very quick, and they did, it didn't help that my gearing system jammed and I couldn't get out of the big ring for a while. Fortunately Scott and Kyle are both great guys and they didn't care that I couldn't ride with them and they doubled back for me at the highway 22 junction.

Once we were over the little hill on highway 22 I felt a little better on the flats and was able to draft for most of the ride, but I think Scott and Kyle slowed quite a bit in order for me to keep up (thanks guys). Scott asked if either of us needed to stop in Bragg Creek and I was thinking to myself, my God, I need to stop and collapse in the next couple kms. I used the excuse that I needed to go to the washroom but really I just wanted to rest! We stopped and chatted for a couple minutes in Bragg and I felt a little better. The nice part was that the way back was flat and I felt more comfortable riding with these guys on the flats. Scott still pushed me quite a bit but I gave everything I could to stay on his wheel and stuck with him until we hit highway 8. At that point my body had taken enough abuse and I said thanks to both of them for a terrific ride and I made my way home.

I don't think I'd ever rode that fast to and from Bragg Creek, I wish I had a speedometer, but doing the ride other times it was about 100kms and I was riding for about 2hrs and 55mins so I know that was a lot faster then I'd ever gone before. I collapsed and needed to rest for the remainder of the day but had an awesome experience, thanks Scott for the invite, hope to do it again, give me some time to recover.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

More Bike News

Well I guess my bike is going to take longer than I anticipated. Griffen has to send in a large number of bikes to be heat treated at the same time so it's not going to go for treatment until the middle of next week and will get painted the week of the 22nd. It's taking a lot longer than I anticipated but at least I have a borrowed bike to use in the meantime. I've done a couple trainer rides already and I forgot how difficult they were, it's like constantly riding uphill. The TCR classes start on the 18th and I'm trying to get back into half decent shape before then. If you don't have your cycling legs for those sessions, they will hurt!

Training has been light for the month, just mainly running (no more than an hour) and some easy biking, while mixing in a couple swims and gym workouts. Once the bike classes start up again, I'll be wanting to start up full tilt.

Had a great thanksgiving weekend with Amber's brother and his family, we all ate a lot and enjoyed hanging out with their little girls. I also had a chance to talk with Brock, the "investment specialist" I'll be replacing up in Grande Prairie. The confirmed date for the move is now set, March 10 we'll be up there. It's going to be a great opportunity and I can't wait to start the job (at least we don't have to suffer through this winter, I hear they can be really brutal up there).

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Just what I needed

Yesterday I was feeling REALLY sore from the total body weight workout I did on Sunday. Yes I worked-out on Sunday and I was still sore on Wednesday, a sign of getting older I guess. I wasn't sure if I should just take a day off and rest, or try to do something to stretch and recover. I decided for the latter and went to Mount Royal for a light swim work-out. The first km was tough but after a while my body became used to the motion again. I was feeling really comfortable, I decided not to push it, also the band on my paddle broke, so I just kept it to a nice easy pace for the full 50 minutes. After 2.5km I felt really good and the D.O.M.S. had reduced dramatically.

I've been going through bike withdrawals lately, ever since I sent my bike off to be painted, the weather has been really good and I been wanting to get out there. It's probably a good thing I'm not on it, it'll give my body a chance to fully recover and I'll come back feeling ready to ride. However after three weeks I couldn't take it anymore so I called up a friend of mine and asked if I could borrow his road bike for a couple weeks. Thanks Clinton! Besides bike classes at TCR start in two weeks and I don't think I'm going to have the Griffen back by then. Tony called me and said that they are heat treating it this week and painting it next week, it would be like a brand new frame when they're done. I can't wait to see it, I received the new FSR chain ring and seat yesterday and now I'm just waiting for the areobars and frame. I'll keep you updated.

Sunday, September 30, 2007

It Feels Good to be Racing Again!

Yesterday was the first race in the Calgary Road Runners cross-country series and although the race is only 8km, it hurt like hell. It was a completely different type of pain than Ironman training, that short-lung-burning, leg cramping, side-splitting pain that only comes from a hard all-out effort. It felt great! I never realized how much I missed those little races until I was back in one again. The course was a constant uphill- downhill rolling trail just east of Canada Olympic Park, it was absolutely beautiful with the fall colours and Amber and I were really happy to spend some time racing in our fabulous city. I finished the 8km course in 33:55, third in my age group and fourth overall. Amber finished third in her age category as well and felt good throughout.

In other news I received a great opportunity for a new job doing what I love, advising clients on their investments, in Grande Prairie. Yes, it is a BIG change for Amber and I, but it is also an incredible opportunity that we couldn't pass up. We talked a lot about how this would change our life, the training, leaving the city we've come to love, but we're excited to start a new chapter in a new place. I've told my new boss that I'm willing to put in two years there and then I would like to come back, or relocate to a place at our choosing and he said he'd be happy to support me with that. We've looked into local races and training facilities and there is great places to train and develop as athletes. Also we'll be able to buy a house out there, something we couldn't seem to do here in Calgary. We're both very excited and happy for this new career opportunity and although the move isn't going to be until March, we're already thinking about what our life will be like up there. Different, yes but sometimes switching things up is exactly what you need to do to really grow as an athlete, person, and a couple.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Back in the Gym

Yesterday AD and I went to Mount Royal and today we're both REALLY feeling it. We warmed up with a good spin on the bike and Amber did some upper body work while I concentrated on my legs. It felt really good to get back at it and release some pent up energy, we both walked out feeling so good and refreshed. However today we're paying the price, AD is having trouble moving her arms and yesterday couldn't wash her hair very well. I'm having trouble getting down the stairs and every time I move after sitting around for a while, it HURTS. Part of the fun I guess.

In other news AD and I drove up to Cardel place yesterday to pick up an award I was completely surprised to receive from the Alberta Triathlon Association, "age group male athlete of the year." It was definitely a great way to cap off a perfect season.

I appreciate the recognition, I feel with all the hard work both Amber and I put in this season, that we both deserved one but having one of us win was great. A special thanks to my biggest support and inspiration AD, I love you.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The Feeling of Freedom!

I have always loved running, even in grade school I really enjoyed the cool September air when the leaves are changing and everything around you is incredibly beautiful. I used to go out after school and run around the field countless times just to have that feeling of freedom and speed. Yesterday after work I recaptured that same feeling. I started out with the intention of simply going for a nice jog to release some built up energy, but I felt so good that after a km or so I gradually started to run faster and faster. My legs were stretching out further my arms started moving harder and harder, my breathing was deeper and I had a feeling of unbelievable euphoria.

I was moving faster and faster with each step and I wondered if I should slow down because this route normally takes me about an hour to complete. Throughout Ironman training that was my mindset, "slow down, there is nothing fast about doing an Ironman" and this is the way you have to think, you're not going to last if you don't. But today I just wanted to recapture some of that feeling of flying faster than you thought you could go. I was moving well and felt as if nothing could catch me, the grass whipped my legs and sweat poured down my face and I was really flying. I hadn't felt like this since the road-runners cross country series races last winter, I'm really looking forward to racing them again this winter.

I arrived home exhausted and unbelievably happy, that was one of the best running workouts I've had in a long time; 13km- 51:45. I can't wait to do it again.

Thursday, September 13, 2007


Ever since I've been in "recovery mode" and haven't been able to train like I'm used to and I've been trying to throw myself into my work as much as possible. However, I've been preoccupied with thoughts of "pimping out" my bike. I took it to Kam this week to tear it down to the frame so I can send it to Griffen to have it re-painted. I'm going to go with a custom black and red prizmatique with red decals, it's going to look hot!

I've also been looking into upgrading the accessories, FSA crank and chain rings, FSA seat, new Oval Concepts areobars and I'm just getting started.

I really want to throw myself into bike training this year, Amber and I made such good progress through last year and I it paid off BIG TIME at IMC. This year I want to shoot for a 5hr bike time and set myself up to feel strong on the run. We're joining the bike classes through TCR sport lab again and plan on doing the BC tour as a ramp up in bike training. I've heard over the years of training from a lot of triathletes, and I agree, that the stronger you are on the bike, the stronger you will be on the run.

I'm going to try to ignore my bike obsession for the next little while and get back to the gym tonight to start slowly back into it. AD and I really want to concentrate on the weights more over this winter, it will pay off when we're ready to go this April and everyone else is just starting back.

I'll keep you updated on the new "pimped out" ride, JR you would be proud! You're going to want the Griffen back after I'm done with it.

Monday, September 10, 2007

I Thought I was Taking a Year Off?

This week was very tough for both Amber and I, we were both very proud of the progress we made this year with our fitness and the thought of taking a year off IM training was making us feel a little depressed. When you have such a short window to compete and do well in events like Ironman, you want to make sure that you have given everything you can while you still have the ability. On Friday I did some research as to what IM events were open for registration on the off chance that Amber was willing to scrap our plans to go to the Tour de France and go for another year of IM training. The only event I could really find was IM Wisconsin which was running this weekend.

When I told AD the way I had been feeling and the fact that I didn't really want to lose a year of fitness and start over again, I was surprised to hear that she felt the same way. We're definitely meant for each other! AD did some further research and read some race reports and we decided that IM Louisville was a good choice for us. It's a smaller race which means the swim will be a little more controlled and easier to prepare for, and it's a new race which means that all the hotels in the area are not jacking up their prices on that weekend and gouging the athletes and their families.

So there it is, what was supposed to be a year off has turned into another year of IM training. This year we plan on doing more "over-distance" rides to help us prepare for the bike, some more specific swim training, and running enough to build up some speed while not running too much to risk injury. Weight training in the winter really helps with base development and injury prevention. For an update as to what races we are tentatively looking at doing, take a look at the side menu.

After meeting Scott Curry and the pro gang in Bragg Creek on Sunday and hearing what he is planning on doing this winter, I think AD and I should look into getting some cross-country skis as well. Thanks for the suggestion Scott, I know you'll kick ass in Florida this November.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Race Of a Lifetime

We woke up at 4:30 am and prepared to make our way to the start. There are a lot of things to do before starting a race like this and every little thing seems like an enormous obstacle during race morning. I dropped off my special needs bag, you can pack something for yourself that the volunteers will give you at km 100 of the bike. Went to fill up the tires on my bike and pack some food for the day and waited in the long line up to be body marked. After making one last stop a the washroom I was ready to go. With all the people at the start I knew I wouldn't see Amber again so I wished her luck earlier and I knew she would have a great race.

I was positioned in the middle of the beach in about the third row from the front among a group of 2488 other people all ready to begin the 25th anniversary edition of Ironman Canada. After the national anthem was sung and the professionals had started everyone was getting nervous, you could feel the energy of the people around you, focused on the swim and how they could make the most out of this portion of the race. I tried to remain calm and stayed focused on the fact that too hard of an effort on the swim can ruin your day, something that I painfully learned in training. The cannon went off and everyone jumped into the water trashing around in a form of controlled chaos. I immediately was kicked in the goggle by someone in front of me an started thinking, "oh great, this is how this day is going to be." But after a few hundred meters I found someone who was a good kicker and I started drafting off their feet, the swim is the only portion of the race where you can draft off of someone else and save some of your energy. However, as people start to converge towards the first turn, you have people on either side of you pushing you this way and that way and it's difficult to keep a steady rythym. Getting through the first turn I felt good and started to have some space where I could maintain an consistent stroke while not tiring myself out. The final turn is difficult because you are making your way back to the beach but it is still 1800m away and it seems like an eternity. The last 500m I was very tired but I concentrated on keeping my form and remaining calm and relaxed. I couldn't see my heart-rate monitor but I knew I was comfortable and not expending a lot of energy in the water.

I exited the water, ripped off the top of my wetsuit and had the volunteers help with the remainder. Ran to my swim- bike bag, picked it up and then to the change tent. When I looked at my watch I was happy to see that this was my fastest swim in an Ironman event at 1 hr and 2 mins. I put on my socks, bike shoes, helmet, loaded up my pockets with some food, stopped for a washroom break and headed out towards my bike. I looked for my landmark, where my bike was situated and immediately found it. Everything was in order so I grabbed it and headed out for the long day on the bike.

Going through Penticton on your bike is one of the great experiences in the race, you feel fresh and fast and the crowds are lining both sides of main street cheering everyone on. It's very hard to try and keep your heart rate down and your adrenaline is pumping all the way out of town. That was the case with me anyway, my heart rate was a lot higher than I wanted it to be, I was trying to keep it under 141 beats per minute and I was pushing 155 during the first 20 minutes on the bike. After riding along lake Skaha I managed to settle into a good rhythm keeping my cadence at 100 to 107 rpm and my heart rate around 136 bpm, my speed was up around 40 to 42 km/hr so I was feeling good and going fast. The main thing in Ironman is to keep your heart rate down while going as fast as you can. I knew this was the fast section of the course so I was prepared to slow down considerably.
I passed a lot of riders on the 67 km section out to Osoyoos and finished that section of the race quite quickly, in about 1 hr and 55 mins. At 67 km you reach the first climb, Richter pass, a long 5 km climb that can ruin your race if you are not prepared for it. With all the climbing Amber and I had done in training I cruised up it trying to keep my heart rate under control but still pushing 165 bpm in some sections. After the climb you get a long descent that provides a great opportunity to take in some food and try to replenish some of the lost calories. I had already drank two water bottles of hammer heed, downed a peanut butter and jam sandwich, a banana, and two fruit bars on the way out, but I knew now would be the time to eat as much as possible as I wouldn't feel like eating anything later so I had a cliff bar on the way down Richter. Also I was quite conscious of taking in salt tablets so I was taking one every half-hour.

After the descent the course turns into a rolling gradient where you are constantly going uphill or downhill. I was caught in a group of about 6 people all of similar ability that kept changing the lead, none of us were trying to draft off each other but it was nearly impossible to keep 7 bike lengths between us (that is the rules to prevent drafting on the bike). I tried to stay out of the way if someone was passing me and other riders were also giving me the same space, but with that many people on the bike course at the same time, you always have someone around you.

The section most people hate on the Ironman course is a long 20 km out-and-back stretch of road that seems to never end. By this time most people are getting really tired and the bike ride is just going on for too long. I like this section because it gives me a chance to see who is in front and who is just behind. I picked up my special needs bag at the turn around loaded up with two more bottles and another sandwich that I never ended up eating. After seeing that I was well positioned on the bike I headed out for the final major climb of the day, Yellow lake. This is typically where I "blow-up" on the bike but this year the temperature was good and I was well fueled so I handled it very well, still suffered reaching heart rates of around 165 bpm but the crowd out there is so motivating that they simply carry you all the way up. Cheering and running beside you, you feel like you are a part of the Tour De France climbing in the alps with the crowd screaming at you to push on.

At 150 kms into the bike I was very sore and tired but still moving quite well and didn't feel nausea like other years. The last 25 km of the bike is a very fast descent into town and I took the opportunity to rest my legs as much as possible and take in as much fluid as my body would let me. Riding into Penticton is great with the crowds cheering you all the way in but it seems like a long stretch of road when all you want to do at that point is get off your bike. I finally reached transition, dismounted the bike, handed it to a volunteer and made my way to the bike- run bag.

After changing shoes and dumping the rest of my bike gear I made my way out to the run course. I didn't feel like carrying the bottle I had waiting for me in my run bag and decided to simply use whatever was available at the aid stations, they were positioned every mile so there was a lot of support. I looked at my watch at the start of the run and it said 6 hrs and 30 mins, okay you have 3 hrs and 30 mins to complete this marathon and reach your goal of finishing under 10 hrs, I can do this.

The first four miles of the run felt great I was running strong and passing a lot of people, I didn't stop at any of the aid stations and simply took water and coke on the go. Once I hit the fifth aid station things started to get worse, my legs were really starting to cramp up and despite taking 9 salt tablets on the bike I was still craving salt. I took the last three tablets I had with me and then relied on pretzels offered at the aid stations. I was determined to have a good run this year and as long as I was moving I tried to keep running. I felt fairly good at the run turn around and kept shuffling along while walking the aid stations and taking in as much as possible. I knew a sub- 10hr finish was possible, I just had to keep moving! By mile 17 my legs were screaming at me and I was getting some sever cramping in my right calf but I just tried to run through it and it eventually subsided.
At 20 miles your body is crying out for you to stop the punishment and to just rest but this is when the mental preparation comes into play. I knew this was going to happen and you have to be willing to focus on the moment and not think too far ahead. Terry Fox said it best when someone asked him how he prepares for the monumental task of running across Canada, "take it one telephone pole at a time." That is what I tried to do, focus on the moment and concentrate on the next mile and nothing else. Slowly but surely the miles started to tick off 21, 22, 23, 24, buy the time I hit mile 24 I could see that I was still moving very well and I just needed to keep it up for two more miles and I would reach my goal. The last three miles are very painful and your legs are ready to crumble from underneath you but I simply focused on the next stretch of road and allowed the energy from the crowd to carry me to the finish. By the time I hit riverfront avenue I was cruising along and racing towards the finish. I looked up at the clock and it read 9hrs 51mins and 17sec, YES! Good enough for 38th place overall and fifth in my age category (male 30-34).

At the finish I was carried to the message tent and had a 20 minute rub down that hurt with the events of the day but I was still able to eat a little something, unlike other years. I was so happy I broke down in tears while getting the message and just allowed myself to be happy with the results of all the years of hard work that led to this moment. I had qualified for the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii, something only 99 other people will qualify for on the day and surpassed all the goals I had set for myself. Although I decided not to take the Hawaii spot, the race is in October and I've used all my vacation at work. I know one day I'll get the opportunity to go there and now I know that it is totally achievable.

Amber also had a great race, finishing in 12 hrs and 1 min, and although she is a little disappointed in her bike time, she had an incredible race and I'm very proud of her. She's shown me that fully committing to anything you want to achieve in life is the key to success and I plan to take that attitude into everything I do, in work and in my personal life. Anything is possible if you just take it "one telephone pole at a time."

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

The Ironman Journey

Ironman 2007 is finally finished and it's been a long process to finally obtain the results I've reached this year. I started competing in triathlons seven years ago when my roommate was all hyped on doing an Olympic distance race (1500m swim, 40km bike, and 10km run) and he convinced me to go along with him. I regularly competed in running races and I had plans to do my first marathon that summer. However, triathlon was unlike anything I'd ever experienced, it was the most grueleing and physically demanding sport I'd ever done. Imagine swimming in a lake filled with hundreds of other people all kicking and thrashing around, dunking, kicking, elbowing, climbing over, and completely exhausting you. Then getting out to the water and HAMMERING as hard as you can on your bike while you are still disoriented from the swim and feeling like your legs are as heavy as stone afterwards. Then jumping off your bike and pounding out a run with legs that feel like jello and being so physically depleted that you are about to collapse at any moment, I immediately fell in love with the sport.

Ironman is the "holy grail" for any triathlete, it is the most physically demanding one day endurance event on the planet and something I never thought was attainable for me. It consists of a 3.85 km swim, 180 km bike, and a 42 km run. It starts at 7 am and if you don't exit the swim at 9:30 am, finish the bike by 5 pm, or the run by midnight, you are not allowed to continue and cannot call yourself an "Ironman."

I continued completing in Olympic distance and sprint distance races through 2001, 2002 and 2003, slowing getting better but still only finishing in the top 25 or 40 racers. It wasn't until a friend of mine started training for Ironman Austria in 2004 and I trained with him that I ever thought that it was possible for me to complete an Ironman. I was still very limited by my swimming and biking ability, consistently making up ground on people in the run. I trained religiously throughout 2004 and sent in an entry in August 2004 for the following year's Ironman event. I was shocked to see that they had accepted my entry and I was in for Ironman 2005.

The races in 2005 and 2006 were both very difficult, extremely hot (33 deg C+) and although all my swimming and biking throughout those years was paying off, I just wasn't having the run I was used to having, walking most of both marathons. Last year I met my significant other (Amber Dawn) at a CIBC function and was suprised to hear she had done the race in 2005 as well. We did a lot of trail running together throughout last summer and I thought I was well prepared for the run in Ironman 2006. The problem I was having is called hyponatremia and is common among some ultra-endurance athletes in warm weather. The body simply cannot replace the electrolytes lost during competition and the extreme salt depletion causes your stomach to "shut-down" and not absorb anything. That is why it's common to see runners throwing-up in the run portion of an Ironman during extremely hot weather. It is your body's way of forcing you to stop.

Understanding this physiological process that was going on with my body during this event helped a lot. I knew that I lost a lot of salt during an Ironman, both years my clothes were covered in salt afterwards and sports drinks just didn't have enough to replace what I was losing. Amber and I dedicated our entire year to training for Ironman 2007, going to bike classes throughout the winter and killing ourselves on the bike trainer in our basement every weekend. Running high-intensity cross country races put on by the Calgary Road Runners, and swimming at the Mount Royal college pool once or twice a week. I knew I was making progress when I finally broke the elusive 3 hour marathon time, running a 2hr 48min marathon in Kelowna in October 2006. The training was paying off and the results started to show, I finished second in the first triathlon of 2007, the Mount Royal sprint triathon and second in the Chinook Half-Ironman in June. I was finally getting the results in the swimming and biking portion of the race that had been so difficult for me in other years.

Thanks to Amber, I was becoming more involved in structured training and enjoying long swims, bike rides, and runs a lot more. Amber hired a coach who provided her with the structured workouts she needed and I piggy-backed on the training and structure she was getting by looking at her workout week and customizing it to how my body felt. As the weather started to warm up we were doing a lot more long bike rides, starting out at 3 hrs in May and eventually ramping up to 7 hrs in July one day. The training took a toll as we had a couple weeks where we would feel great and it would be followed by a week of feeling sluggish and depleted. July was our biggest month of training and we spent a lot of time on our bikes. One week in mid-July we were part of a bike tour through B.C. traveling 853 km in seven days and some extreme climbs were on days 5 and 6. We had some other terrific bike trips like Amber's birthday weekend at the beginning of August when we biked 153 km to Banff on Saturday,I asked her to marry me in Canmore on the way up and she said yes! Then we ran for 3 hrs on Sunday and had another 150 km ride home on Monday.

The preparation was all starting to pay off during August when you have to reduce your total training volume to give your body a chance to recover. I was feeling stronger and itching to race. Amber and I arrived in Penticton August 22nd feeling ready, we did a couple swims in the lake and some short bike rides and warm-up runs in the days leading up to the event but the hardest thing to do was to not get caught up in the excitement of the event and to start doing too much. You need to stay out of the sun, eat properly, and keep your body well-rested. The night before the race we were both a little nervous but I knew that we had done all we needed to do and tomorrow we simply needed to stick to the race plan and everything would work out well.